A thorough overview of the DDoS process
Even though they have been increasing over the past few years, there are still quite a lot of people that do not perceive what a DDoS attack is or how it operates. There are quite a few people that most likely do not know what DDoS acronym even stands for. Let’s begin with the basics.
DDoS refers to Distributed Denial of Service. The most significant portion of that acronym is the denial of service part. DDoS attack was designed in a way that it could take away the services granted by a single device or a network becoming unreachable and offline to its users. Plainly speaking, a DoS attack is an effort to take down service from a user or computer. By definition a DDoS means an orchestrated attack using many computers, or bots.
The most common form of DDoS attacks seek to take down websites by overwhelming that site’s resources. Even the largest websites in the world have particular amount of bandwidth that can serve a certain maximum of connections to the website. After all available bandwidth is used and the maximum of connections has been reached, users can not access the site anymore, any new user trying to connect will get an error that the website is down.
As you can probably tell, this takes an extremely high quantity of connections for a website to be made inaccessible, particularly the larger sites that have made the news when they have been affected by DDoS attack – for example well known sites like Ebay and Amazon that have been taken down by DDoS attacks. How can a couple of hackers take down such enormous sites that have the means to withstand millions of users at the same time? This happens with help of thousands of computers infected by malware.
In general anti-virus program should be able to clean your computer of malware, viruses and Trojans. The last one can be the most difficult to diagnose and dispose due to Trojans nature. It conceals itself as a regular, sometimes significant program that users would usually have no worry with installing. Sheltered in a program, though, is a smaller program that runs unseen in the background, and user can not even realize it being there. When the computer is infected it basically becomes like a zombie – it can be controlled by the one responsible for making the Trojan. Visualize a perfectly hidden Trojan that is inside some popular download, phishing email or program update – thousands, potentially even millions of unsuspicious people will install the Trojan and their computers will be infected. The hacker responsible for the Trojan creates a literal army of infected computers this way and he can take control of them whenever he wants.
When the hackers think they have adequate number of infected computers, they attack. They use specifically designed programs through which they command all infected computers to connect to a certain website. These programs, called botnets, have an astonishing range of control over the computers. According to the size of the site being attacked, it does not take much for the bandwidth to be maxed out what makes the site to become inaccessible.
The major reason why DDoS attacks are so efficient is that they are unbelievably hard to trace. However, if it were a single DoS attack going after specific site or network, then it would be quite easy to notice an IP address and block the attack. With a DDoS attack, though, infected computers are being exploited around the globe what makes it almost impossible to even track.
DDoS attacks differ highly in size and scope. Now and then, a single hacker with a rather small quantity of zombie computers at his disposal can cripple a small website with modest bandwidth. If you own a relatively small website and have a pretty basic hosting package, better hope that you have not made any cunning hacker enemies or you have some great protection against DDoS, since it wouldn’t be hard to overload your connections. For more protection, which is always great, one should give a though to using a VPN, it might not be your saver from DDoS attack, but while using VPN the hacker would have real hard time tracing you down, if he could do that at all. These DDoS attacks, that are aimed at smaller sites are immensely common, but they get press coverage rather seldom not like some of the larger attacks.
As mentioned, let’s look at probably the biggest DDoS attack that happened not so long ago to put its size in perspective. This February, CloudFlare (a company that manages a global content delivery network) was hit by an enormous DDoS attack. The size of attacks are usually measured in bandwidth per second, the more data that is coming to the website from the infected computers per second, the bigger the attack. The size of the DDoS attack on CloudFlare appears to have been just shy of 400Gbps.That is stunningly large amount of data and only a few sites could handle that much data.
In defiance of their size or target, regrettably DDoS attacks are increasing. They are easy enough to implement for a more experienced hacker, really difficult to trace, and are frequently used as a cyber protest. Attackers say that there isn’t any real damage done, as there is no real hacking and the site is only crippled due to no remaining bandwidth. However, site owners counter that each minute their site is unreachable costs the company money. Visualize how much income sites like Ebay and Amazon lost when their sites were down? Regarding their popularity and potential for damage, it is critical for all websites, not considering their size, to implement proper DDoS mitigation solutions. Also to increase your security while connected to the Internet some sort of a VPN solution is very preferable to have.